Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dec 31 Tip: Take part in New Year's Day Prayers for Peace

December 31 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Take Part in New Year's Day Interfaith Prayers for Peace

Please plan to join us for:

The Annual Interfaith Service of 
Prayers for Peace
 Co-sponsored by Interfaith Paths to Peace and St. William and St. Agnes Catholic Churches with the Baha'is of Louisville, Drepung Gomang (Tibetan Buddhist) Institute, the Hindu Temple of Kentucky, Compassionate Louisville, the Jewish Community of Louisville, and Al-Zahrah Islamic Center

10 am Tuesday, January 1, 2013

St. William Catholic Church
13th and Oak in Louisville 

The service will include prayers, rituals, readings and music taken from Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, the Baha'i faith and more. 

For details, (502) 299-7591

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dec 30 Tpi: Learn about Trauma and Transformation

December 30 Compassionate Living Tip From Interfaith Paths to Peace

Learn about Trauma and Transformation

Listen to the opening minutes from the audio program Transforming Trauma by authors Caroline Myss  and James Finley. Mitchell Clute, a producer at Sounds True, chose this selection after editing the program, which was recorded before a live studio audience. In this selection, Caroline Myss introduces the idea of a profound alchemy between trauma and transformation. This view of trauma as an agent of spiritual transformation, she says, is unique to our times. Myss explains how the journey of healing and transformation is ultimately a mystical challenge and not a psychological one.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dec 29 Tip: Learn about Parker Palmer

December 29 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Learn about Parker Palmer and his Center for Courage and Renewal

The mission of the Center for Courage & Renewal (CCR) is to nurture personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it.
We do this by:
  • Helping people who wish to live and work more wholeheartedly renew themselves, reclaim their vocational vitality, and deepen their professional practice.
  • Supporting these people in becoming forces for positive change in their workplaces, professions, and communities, as well as in the lives of the people they serve.
  • Contributing to the growing national conversation about reclaiming integrity and courage in professional and public life.
The Center helps foster personal and professional renewal through supporting retreats and programs that offer the time and space to slow down and reflect on life and work. The retreats – based in the Circle of Trust® approach -- are often called Courage to Teach (R) or Courage to Lead® and are led by skilled facilitators and make use of poetry and stories, solitude, reflection, and deep listening.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dec 28 Tip: Explore Jon Kabat-Zinn's "Science of Mindfulness"

December 28 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Listen to an interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn about his "Science of Mindfulness"

Jon Kabat-Zinn has learned, through science and experience, about mindfulness as a way of life. This is wisdom with immediate relevance to the ordinary and extreme stresses of our time — from economic peril, to parenting, to life in a digital age.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dec 27 Tip: Learn five simple approaches to englightenment

December 27 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Watch a short video and learn five simple approaches to enlightenment

Buddhist monk Shinzen Young talks about his "Five Ways" teaching to develop concentration, sensory clarity, and equanimity. This is Shinzen's reformulation of previous meditative and contemplative traditions methods using secular vocabulary in a system built on contrasts. A contemporary toolkit for classical enlightenment. Filmed April 2009 at Mt. Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dec 26 Tip: See the film "A Late Quartet

December 26 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

See the Indie film "A Late Quartet" (now playing at Village 8)

The film tells the story of a beloved cellist of a world-renowned string quartet who receives a life changing diagnosis, the group's future suddenly hangs in the balance: suppressed emotions, competing egos, and uncontrollable passions threaten to derail years of friendship and collaboration. As they are about to play their 25th anniversary concert, quite possibly their last, only their intimate bond and the power of music can preserve their legacy. Inspired by and structured around Beethoven's Opus 131 String Quartet in C-sharp minor, the film pays homage to chamber music and the cultural world of New York.

And here's a link to hear the Beethoven piece that the film is built around

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dec 25 Tip: savor "The Little Drummer Boy"

December 25 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Savor the original "Little Drummer Boy"

"The Little Drummer Boy" is a popular Christmas song, with words and music by Katherine K. Davis. Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone have been credited with writing the song, even though they were only the arrangers for their recordings of it.

The lyrics tell the apocryphal story of a poor young boy who, unable to afford a gift for the infant Jesus, plays his drum for the newborn with the Virgin Mary's approval. Miraculously, the baby, although a newborn, seems to understand and smiles at the boy in gratitude. The story is somewhat similar to an old twelfth-century legend retold by Anatole France as Le jongleur de Notre-Dame (The Juggler of Notre Dame), which was adapted into an opera in 1902 by Jules Massenet. In the French legend, however, a juggler juggles before the statue of the Virgin Mary, and the statue, according to which version of the legend one reads, either smiles at him or throws him a rose (or both, as in the 1984 made-for-television film).


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dec 24 Tip from: Explore Teilhard de Chardin's "Planetary Mind"

December 24 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Explore Teilhard de Chardin's "Planetary Mind"

"The human is matter at its most incendiary stage."
~Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955)
Where is technology taking us? Are we heading towards greatness, or just hyper-connected collapse? This challenge was foreseen a century ago by Teilhard de Chardin.

A world-renowned paleontologist, he helped verify fossil evidence of human evolution. A Jesuit priest and philosopher, he penned forbidden ideas that seemed mystical at the time but are now coming true — that humanity would develop capacities for collective, global intelligence, that a meaningful vision of the Earth and the universe would have to include "the interior as well as the exterior of things; mind as well as matter."

The coming stage of evolution, he said, won't be driven by physical adaptation but by human consciousness, creativity, and spirit. It's up to us. We visit Teilhard de Chardin's biographer Ursula King, and we experience his ideas energizing New York Times Dot Earth blogger Andrew Revkin and evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson.

Dec 23 Tip: Learn to be your own refuge

December 23 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

From Buddhism Now: Learn to be your own refuge

It is you who must make the effort. The Great of the past only show the way. Those who think and follow the path become free from the  bondage of Mara.
If  we all have an instinctive wish for happiness, these words taken from the Dhammapada tell us where to begin the search to fulfil it. We are our own refuge. The key to fulfilling our need for happiness lies within, not outside, us. This means that we have all we need right here, inside, without looking to external things. And more good news—it’s cheap! We don’t have to pay for our happiness!
I cannot emphasise enough how powerful and accurate this verse is. Everybody, all the time, is trying to fulfil the instinctive wish to attain happiness and avoid unhappiness, and yet no one seems able to do so. Here, however, is the simple truth: the source of our own happiness is within ourselves.
We are still not really aware of the inner refuge that the Buddha says we should understand, because we have not reached the level where we can tap it. Until we do, we will continue looking for happiness outside, and there will be no way to satisfy that instinct. Bringing that internal refuge to life is what Dharma practice is all about.
It is really up to us. The Buddha says in the Dhammapada that we should work for our own liberation because the buddhas can only show us the way. They can give us the tools, but we must use them ourselves.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dec 22 Tip: See Dead Sea Scrolls in Cincinnati

December 22 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

See Dead Sea Scrolls in Cincinnati

The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center will run through April 2013.

The exhibit features ancient artifacts from Israel, as well as 10 of the 2,000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls. More than 600 objects from the Biblical to Byzantine Period are also part of the exhibit as well as stone carvings, jewelry, weapons and mosaics.

The Scrolls were discovered and unearthed in caves on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea from 1947-1956. Considered among the world's greatest archeological discoveries, the Scrolls contain the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible.

Cincinnati's unique part in the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls will be highlighted in the exhibition. Hebrew Union College and its former president (1947-71) Nelson Glueck played an important role in efforts to recover some of the scrolls from antiquities dealers, authenticate the scrolls, in early academic debate about the significance and dating of the scrolls and participation in scholarly efforts surrounding the scrolls.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dec 21 Tip: Is it the End of the World? REM clarifies things

December 21 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Is today the end of the world? Find out what REM has to say

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes,
an aeroplane - Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn,
world serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs.
Feed it off an aux speak,, grunt, no, strength,
The ladder starts to clatter with fear fight down height.
Wire in a fire, representing seven games, a government for hire and a combat site.
Left of west and coming in a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck.
Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped.
Look at that low playing!
Fine, then.
Uh oh, overflow, population, common food, but it'll do.
Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and the revered and the right - right.
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign towers.
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn.
Locking in, uniforming, book burning, blood letting.
Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a candle, light a votive. Step down, step down.
Watch your heel crush, crushed. Uh-oh, this means no fear cavalier.
Renegade steer clear! A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies.
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.
(I feel fine)

It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental drift divide. Mountains sit in a line
Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev. Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs.
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam book neck, right? Right.

It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.

It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.

It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dec 20 Tip: Read the Dalai Lama's book "Beyond Religion"

December 20 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Read the Dalai Lama's book "Beyond Religion"

Editor's note: The following is excerpted from "Beyond Religion" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

I am an old man now. I was born in 1935 in a small village in northeastern Tibet. For reasons beyond my control, I have lived most of my adult life as a stateless refugee in India, which has been my second home for over 50 years. I often joke that I am India’s longest-staying guest. In common with other people of my age, I have witnessed many of the dramatic events that have shaped the world we live in. Since the late 1960s, I have also traveled a great deal, and have had the honor to meet people from many different backgrounds: not just presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, and leaders from all the world’s great religious traditions, but also a great number of ordinary people from all walks of life.

Looking back over the past decades, I find many reasons to rejoice. Through advances in medical science, deadly diseases have been eradicated. Millions of people have been lifted from poverty and have gained access to modern education and health care. We have a universal declaration of human rights, and awareness of the importance of such rights has grown tremendously. As a result, the ideals of freedom and democracy have spread around the world, and there is increasing recognition of the oneness of humanity. There is also growing awareness of the importance of a healthy environment. In very many ways, the last half-century or so has been one of progress and positive change.

At the same time, despite tremendous advances in so many fields, there is still great suffering, and humanity continues to face enormous difficulties and problems. While in the more affluent parts of the world people enjoy lifestyles of high consumption, there remain countless millions whose basic needs are not met. With the end of the Cold War, the threat of global nuclear destruction has receded, but many continue to endure the sufferings and tragedy of armed conflict. In many areas, too, people are having to deal with environmental problems and, with these, threats to their livelihood and worse. At the same time, many others are struggling to get by in the face of inequality, corruption and injustice.

These problems are not limited to the developing world. In the richer countries, too, there are many difficulties, including widespread social problems: alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, family breakdown. People are worried about their children, about their education and what the world holds in store for them. Now, too, we have to recognize the possibility that human activity is damaging our planet beyond a point of no return, a threat which creates further fear. And all the pressures of modern life bring with them stress, anxiety, depression, and, increasingly, loneliness. As a result, everywhere I go, people are complaining. Even I find myself complaining from time to time!

It is clear that something is seriously lacking in the way we humans are going about things. But what is it that we lack? The fundamental problem, I believe, is that at every level we are giving too much attention to the external material aspects of life while neglecting moral ethics and inner values.
By inner values I mean the qualities that we all appreciate in others, and toward which we all have a natural instinct, bequeathed by our biological nature as animals that survive and thrive only in an environment of concern, affection and warmheartedness -- or in a single word, compassion. The essence of compassion is a desire to alleviate the suffering of others and to promote their well-being.

This is the spiritual principle from which all other positive inner values emerge. We all appreciate in others the inner qualities of kindness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness and generosity, and in the same way we are all averse to displays of greed, malice, hatred and bigotry. So actively promoting the positive inner qualities of the human heart that arise from our core disposition toward compassion, and learning to combat our more destructive propensities, will be appreciated by all. And the first beneficiaries of such a strengthening of our inner values will, no doubt, be ourselves. Our inner lives are something we ignore at our own peril, and many of the greatest problems we face in today’s world are the result of such neglect.

Not long ago I visited Orissa, a region in eastern India. The poverty in this part of the country, especially among tribal people, has recently led to growing conflict and insurgency. I met with a member of parliament from the region and discussed these issues. From him I gathered that there are a number legal mechanisms and well-funded government projects already in place aimed at protecting the rights of tribal people and even giving them material assistance. The problem, he said, was that the funds provided by the government were not reaching those they were intended to help. When such projects are subverted by corruption, inefficiency and irresponsibility on the part of those charged with implementing them, they become worthless.

This example shows very clearly that even when a system is sound, its effectiveness depends on the way it is used. Ultimately, any system, any set of laws or procedures, can only be as effective as the individuals responsible for its implementation. If, owing to failures of personal integrity, a good system is misused, it can easily become a source of harm rather than a source of benefit. This is a general truth which applies to all fields of human activity, even religion. Though religion certainly has the potential to help people lead meaningful and happy lives, it too, when misused, can become a source of conflict and division. Similarly, in the fields of commerce and finance, the systems themselves may be sound, but if the people using them are unscrupulous and driven by self-serving greed, the benefits of those systems will be undermined. Unfortunately, we see this happening in many kinds of human activities: even in international sports, where corruption threatens the very notion of fair play.

Of course, many discerning people are aware of these problems and are working sincerely to redress them from within their own areas of expertise. Politicians, civil servants, lawyers, educators, environmentalists, activists and so on -- people from all sides are already engaged in this effort. This is very good so far as it goes, but the fact is, we will never solve our problems simply by instituting new laws and regulations. Ultimately, the source of our problems lies at the level of the individual. If people lack moral values and integrity, no system of laws and regulations will be adequate. So long as people give priority to material values, then injustice, inequity, intolerance and greed -- all the outward manifestations of neglect of inner values -- will persist.

So what are we to do? Where are we to turn for help? Science, for all the benefits it has brought to our external world, has not yet provided scientific grounding for the development of the foundations of personal integrity -- the basic inner human values that we appreciate in others and would do well to promote in ourselves. Perhaps we should seek inner values from religion, as people have done for millennia? Certainly religion has helped millions of people in the past, helps millions today and will continue to help millions in the future. But for all its benefits in offering moral guidance and meaning in life, in today’s secular world religion alone is no longer adequate as a basis for ethics. One reason for this is that many people in the world no longer follow any particular religion. Another reason is that, as the peoples of the world become ever more closely interconnected in an age of globalization and in multicultural societies, ethics based in any one religion would only appeal to some of us; it would not be meaningful for all. In the past, when peoples lived in relative isolation from one another -- as we Tibetans lived quite happily for many centuries behind our wall of mountains -- the fact that groups pursued their own religiously based approaches to ethics posed no difficulties. Today, however, any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate. What we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics.

This statement may seem strange coming from someone who from a very early age has lived as a monk in robes. Yet I see no contradiction here. My faith enjoins me to strive for the welfare and benefit of all sentient beings, and reaching out beyond my own tradition, to those of other religions and those of none, is entirely in keeping with this.

I am confident that it is both possible and worthwhile to attempt a new secular approach to universal ethics. My confidence comes from my conviction that all of us, all human beings, are basically inclined or disposed toward what we perceive to be good. Whatever we do, we do because we think it will be of some benefit. At the same time, we all appreciate the kindness of others. We are all, by nature, oriented toward the basic human values of love and compassion. We all prefer the love of others to their hatred. We all prefer others’ generosity to their meanness. And who among us does not prefer tolerance, respect and forgiveness of our failings to bigotry, disrespect and resentment?

In view of this, I am of the firm opinion that we have within our grasp a way, and a means, to ground inner values without contradicting any religion and yet, crucially, without depending on religion. The development and practice of this new system of ethics is what I propose to elaborate in the course of this book. It is my hope that doing so will help to promote understanding of the need for ethical awareness and inner values in this age of excessive materialism.

At the outset I should make it clear that my intention is not to dictate moral values. Doing that would be of no benefit. To try to impose moral principles from outside, to impose them, as it were, by command, can never be effective. Instead, I call for each of us to come to our own understanding of the importance of inner values. For it is these inner values which are the source of both an ethically harmonious world and the individual peace of mind, confidence and happiness we all seek. Of course, all the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness, can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I believe the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dec 19 Tip: See the film "The other Son"

December 19 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

See the film "The Other Son" (Now playing at Village 8),+KY&ei=ISnRUIqdDYbfyAGLsYCACQ&mid=adc3c46d383bf080

As he prepares to join the Israeli army for his national service, Joseph discovers he is not his parents' biological son, but that he was inadvertently switched at birth with Yassin, the son of a Palestinian family from the West Bank. This revelation turns the lives of these two families upside-down, forcing them to reassess their respective identities, their values and their beliefs.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dec 18 Tip: Consider the end of YOUR world

December 18 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

From Sounds True: With the December 21 "end of the world" looming, consider the end of YOUR world

The Willingness to Question Everything

As I often tell my own students, I do not present my teachings as statements of truth, because trying to put the truth into words is a fool’s game. It’s the approach we often take before awakening—we conceptualize the truth and then believe the concept. So rather than teaching some sort of theology or philosophy, I present my teachings as strategies. I am offering you strategies for awakening and strategies to help you with what happens after awakening.
All of the words I use are intended as pointers. In Zen there is a saying: Don’t mistake the finger pointing to the moon for the moon itself. Even though we may hear that a hundred times, we still have a tendency to make the mistake, over and over. So while I use lots of words, set certain contexts, and use certain metaphors, I ask you to keep in mind that everything I am teaching must be awakened to. It must be livedfor it to be real. Nothing I say substitutes for the real, direct experience of knowing what you truly are. You need to be willing to question everything, to stop and ask yourself, “Do I really know what I think I know, or have I just taken on the beliefs and opinions of others? What do I actually know, and what do I want to believe or imagine? What do I know for certain?”
This one question—“What do I know for certain?”— is tremendously powerful. When you look deeply into this question, it actually destroys your world. It destroys your whole sense of self, and it’s meant to. You come to see that everything you think you know about yourself, everything you think you know about the world, is based on assumptions, beliefs, and opinions—things you believe because you were taught or told that they were true. Until we start to see these false perceptions for what they really are, consciousness will be imprisoned within the dream state.
In the same way, as soon as we allow ourselves to realize, “My gosh, I know almost nothing: I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what the world is. I don’t know if this is true. I don’t know if that is true,” something within our being opens up. When we are willing to step into the unknown and its inherent insecurity, and not run back to anything for cover or for comfort—when we are willing to stand as if facing an oncoming wind and not wince—we can finally face our actual self.
Investigating the question, “What do I know for certain?” is also an invaluable tool once awakening has happened. Asking yourself this question aids in the dissolution of limitations and ideas, as well as the tendency to fixate—all of which continue after awakening.
No matter where you are on the path, then, it’s this willingness to stand up within yourself and ask this question and to be open and sincere about what you find that is the most important thing. It’s the backbone on which the entirety of your awakening and your life after awakening depends.

Dec 17 Tip: Join us Tuesday for Silent Memorial for Shooting Victims

December 17 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Attend a Silent Memorial on Tuesday for Victims of the School Shootings in Connecticut

Persons of all religions, and those not affiliated with any religion, are invited to take a few moments to join us anytime between noon and 1 pm on Tuesday, December 18 to honor the memory of those who died in the school shooting on Friday. 

The memorial will take place in Bishops Hall at Christ Church Cathedral, 425 South Second Street in Louisville.

You are invited to grieve this tragic loss,  

pray for an end to gun violence, and  

send your healing thoughts to the survivors at the school in Connecticut.  

We will have a very large card or banner on hand on which you can write an uplifting message. We will send these wishes to the school. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dec 16: Find a way forward in this present darkness

December 16 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Here are some thoughts from "On Being" to soothe our souls in the wake of Friday's violent nightmare

From Thich Nhat Hanj:

If the human person is affected by the poison of violence and anger and despair, if you want to help heal him or her, you have to bring him or her out of the situation where she continues to ingest the poisons of violence. This is very simple. This is very clear and this is not only the job of educators. Everyone has to participate to the work of creating safe environments for us and for our children."

Dec 15 Tip:Can mental health screemings predict mass murders?

December 15 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Can mental health screenings predict who will commit mass murders? The sad answer...

A "Minority Report" technology to predict murder remains wishful science fiction thinking. But a mass shooting that killed at least 20 children and 8 adults at a school in Newton, Conn. once again raises the question of what technological tools, if any, can help predict or prevent such tragedies by identifying troubled individuals.

Psychologists say that predicting the intent among individuals to commit mass murder remains incredibly difficult, if not impossible...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dec1 4: Learn about the "Green Dot" Violence Prevention Program

December 14 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Learn about the Green Dot Violence Prevention Program

Violence affects all of us. No one has to do everything but everyone has to do SOMETHING!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dec 13 Tip: Explore the Sacred Music of Indian Ravi Shankar

December 13 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Explore Hindu Spirituality through the music of Hindu Ravi Shankar who died on Tuesday at the age of 92

Ravi Shankar, the legendary sitarist and composer is India's most esteemed musical Ambassador and a singular phenomenon in the classical music worlds of East and West. As a performer, composer, teacher and writer, he has done more for Indian music than any other musician. He is well known for his pioneering work in bringing Indian music to the West. This however, he did only after long years of dedicated study under his illustrious guru Baba Allaudin Khan and after making a name for himself in India.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 12 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Watch outstanding Louisville individuals relate the stories of "epiphany" experiences in their lives

At the site toggle through the list to "newest programming" and click on Epiphanies.

Dec 11 Tip Don't let stress get in the way

December 11 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

In this holiday season, don't let stress get in the way of life

 from the NY Times

When Daily Stress Gets in the Way of Life

I was about to give an hourlong talk to hundreds of people when one of the organizers of the event asked, "Do you get nervous when you give speeches?" My response: Who, me? No. Of course not.
But this was a half-truth. I am a bit of a worrier, and one thing that makes me anxious is getting ready for these events: fretting over whether I've prepared the right talk, packed the right clothes or forgotten anything important, like my glasses.
Anxiety is a fact of life. I've yet to meet anyone, no matter how upbeat, who has escaped anxious moments, days, even weeks. Recently I succumbed when, rushed for time just before a Thanksgiving trip, I was told the tires on my car were too worn to be driven on safely and had to be replaced.
"But I have no time to do this now," I whined.
"Do you have time for an accident?" my car-savvy neighbor asked.
So, with a pounding pulse and no idea how I'd make up the lost time, I went off to get new tires. I left the car at the shop and managed to calm down during the walk home, which helped me get back to the work I needed to finish before the trip.
It seems like such a small thing now. But everyday stresses add up, according to Tamar E. Chansky, a psychologist in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., who treats people with anxiety disorders.
You'll be much better able to deal with a serious, unexpected challenge if you lower your daily stress levels, she said. When worry is a constant, "it takes less to tip the scales to make you feel agitated or plagued by physical symptoms, even in minor situations," she wrote in her very practical book, "Freeing Yourself From Anxiety."
When Calamities Are Real
Of course, there are often good reasons for anxiety. Certainly, people who lost their homes and life's treasures - and sometimes loved ones - in Hurricane Sandy can hardly be faulted for worrying about their futures.
But for some people, anxiety is a way of life, chronic and life-crippling, constantly leaving them awash in fears that prevent them from making moves that could enrich their lives.
In an interview, Dr. Chansky said that when real calamities occur, "you will be in much better shape to cope with them if you don't entertain extraneous catastrophes."
By "extraneous," she means the many stresses that pile up in the course of daily living that don't really deserve so much of our emotional capital - the worrying and fretting we spend on things that won't change or simply don't matter much.
"If you worry about everything, it will get in the way of what you really need to address," she explained. "The best decisions are not made when your mind is spinning out of control, racing ahead with predictions about how things are never going to get any better. Precious energy is wasted when you're always thinking about the worst-case scenarios."
When faced with serious challenges, it helps to narrow them down to specific things you can do now. To my mind, Dr. Chansky's most valuable suggestion for emerging from paralyzing anxiety when faced with a monumental task is to "stay in the present - it doesn't help to be in the future.
"Take some small step today, and value each step you take. You never know which step will make a difference. This is much better than not trying to do anything."
Dr. Chansky told me, "If you're worrying about your work all the time, you won't get your work done." She suggested instead that people "compartmentalize." Those prone to worry should set aside a little time each day simply to fret, she said - and then put aside anxieties and spend the rest of the time getting things done. This advice could not have come at a better time for me, as I faced holiday chores, two trips in December, and five columns to write before leaving mid-month. Rather than focusing on what seemed like an impossible challenge, I took on one task at a time. Somehow it all got done.
Possible Thinking
Many worriers think the solution is positive thinking. Dr. Chansky recommends something else: think "possible."
"When we are stuck with negative thinking, we feel out of options, so to exit out of that we need to be reminded of all the options we do have," she writes in her book.
If this is not something you can do easily on your own, consult others for suggestions. During my morning walk with friends, we often discuss problems, and inevitably someone comes up with a practical solution. But even if none of their suggestions work, at least they narrow down possible courses of action and make the problem seem less forbidding. "If other people are not caught in the spin that you're in, they may have ideas for you that you wouldn't think of," Dr. Chansky said. "We often do this about small things, but when something big is going on, we hesitate to ask for advice. Yet that's when we need it most."
Dr. Chansky calls this "a community cleanup effort," and it can bring more than advice. During an especially challenging time, like dealing with a spouse's serious illness or loss of one's home, friends and family members can help with practical matters like shopping for groceries, providing meals, cleaning out the refrigerator or paying bills.
"People want to help others in need - it's how the world goes around," she said. Witness the many thousands of volunteers, including students from other states on their Thanksgiving break, who prepared food and delivered clothing and equipment to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Even the smallest favor can help buffer stress and enable people to focus productively on what they can do to improve their situation.
Another of Dr. Chansky's invaluable tips is to "let go of the rope." When feeling pressured to figure out how to fix things now, "walk away for a few minutes, but promise to come back." As with a computer that suddenly misbehaves, Dr. Chansky suggests that you "unplug and refresh," perhaps by "taking a breathing break," inhaling and exhaling calmly and intentionally.
"The more you practice calm breathing, the more it will be there for you when you need it," she wrote.
She also suggests taking a break to do something physical: "Movement shifts the moment." Take a walk or bike ride, call a friend, look through a photo album, or do some small cleaning task like clearing off your night table.
When you have a clear head and are feeling less overwhelmed, you'll be better able to figure out the next step.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dec 10: Observe International Human Rights Day

December 10 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Observe International Human Rights Day, Urge Non-Violent Resistance to Oppression in Tibet and Other Countries

Human Rights Day presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere.
This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.

These human rights — the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government (articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) have been at the centre of the historic changes in the Arab world over the past two years, in which millions have taken to the streets to demand change. In other parts of the world, the “99%” made their voices heard through the global Occupy movement protesting economic, political and social inequality.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dec 9 Tip: Read Anne Lamott's book "Traveling Mercies"

December 9 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Read Anne Lamott's book "Traveling Mercies"

 Anne Lamott claims the two best prayers she knows are: "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." She has a friend whose morning prayer each day is "Whatever," and whose evening prayer is "Oh, well." Anne thinks of Jesus as "Casper the friendly savior" and describes God as "one crafty mother."

Despite--or because of--her irreverence, faith is a natural subject for Anne Lamott. Since Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, her fans have been waiting for her to write the book that explained how she came to the big-hearted, grateful, generous faith that she so often alluded to in her two earlier nonfiction books. The people in Anne Lamott's real life are like beloved characters in a favorite series for her readers--her friend Pammy, her son, Sam, and the many funny and wise folks who attend her church are all familiar. And Traveling Mercies is a welcome return to those lives, as well as an introduction to new companions Lamott treats with the same candor, insight, and tenderness.

Lamott's faith isn't about easy answers, which is part of what endears her to believers as well as nonbelievers. Against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. As she puts it, "My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers." At once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny, Traveling Mercies tells in exuberant detail how Anne Lamott learned to shine the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life, exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.

Dec 8 Tip: Learn about Civil Rights Pioneer Vincent Harding

December 8 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Learn about Civil Rights pioneer Vincent Harding

Dr. Vincent Harding was very involved with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a friend and colleague. He also served as an elder brother and advisor to many of the members of SNCC (The Student Non-violent Coordination Committee). His social activism has deep spiritual roots in the Mennonite tradition and the Black church. Dr. Harding as been one of the chroniclers of the civil rights movement as a participant, an historian, and social observer. He and his late wife Rosemarie were senior consultants to the "Eyes on the Prize" documentary film project.
In 1997, the Hardings founded the Veterans of Hope Project, at the Center for the Study of Religion and Democratic Renewal. The project is an interdisciplinary initiative on spiritual, cultural, and participatory democracy at the Iliff School of Theology. The primary mission of the Veterans of Hope Project is to encourage a healing, centered, intergenerational approach to social justice activism that recognizes the interconnectedness of spirit, creativity, and citizenship.
The Hardings began their work in the Mennonite Church in Chicago, Illinois in the late 1950s and moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1961 to join with Martin Luther King, Jr. and others as reconcilers and nonviolent trainers in the Southern Freedom Movement. Dr. Harding was the first director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center in Atlanta and served as director and chairperson of The Institute of the Black World. In ensuing years, the Hardings served as scholars, advisors and encouragers for a wide variety of movements, organizations and individuals working for compassionate social change in the United States and internationally.
Dr. Vincent Harding is currently Professor Emeritus of Religion and Social Transformation at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado and visiting Distinguished Professor, African-American Religion, Drew University. Before Illiff, Vincent Harding taught at Pendle Hill Study Center, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and Spelman College.
Dr. Harding is the author of many books including: Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero; There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America; A Certain Magnificence: Lyman Beecher and the Transformation of American Protestantism, 1775-1863; Hope and History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement. He also co-edited, The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle.
He is also the recipient of numerous awards including the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Humanities from the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dec 7 Tip: Learn about Pet Therapy of Kentucky

December 7 Compassionate Living Tip from Interfaith Paths to Peace

Learn about W.A.G.S.: Pet Therapy of Kentucky

WAGS (Wonderful Animals Giving Support) Pet Therapy of Kentucky, Inc. is a non-profit, volunteer organization based in Louisville since 1999. WAGS members believe in the special – often healing – bond between people and animals. The mission of WAGS is to bring people and pets together for companionship and therapy.